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How accurate has our Mock Draft Database been over the years?

There have been more hits than misses, it would appear

NFL: APR 25 2019 NFL Draft Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As many of the readers of our humble little website here know, we’ve been doing our Mock Draft Database every year since 2013. . .well, with one exception. . .to try to get an accurate gauge of who draft experts think the Minnesota Vikings will be selecting in the first round of each year’s draft. A few of our commenters have wondered exactly how accurate the Database has been over the years, and now that we’re getting close to draft time I think it’s time to answer that question.

I’ve done one of these posts in the past to look at the early years of the Mock Draft Database, so I won’t re-hash those years. (Though I will include them in the attached Google sheet so that I have everything in one place for future reference.) What I will do is take a look at the Databases we’ve done from 2016 onward to see whether or not the experts really had a bead on what the Vikings were going to do.

Here is the sheet for you to flip through for each year’s Database. This may not work in all formats, but this was the best way I found to get all of the tabs there for people to look at.

2016 Mock Draft Database

The consensus in 2016 is that the Vikings were going to draft a wide receiver. In our final Database for that year, the receivers held 88 of the 100 selections from mock drafters, and that’s what happened. However, the receiver they picked wasn’t the most mocked to the Vikings. Texas Christian receiver Josh Doctson wound up with 41% of the selections that year, while Laquon Treadwell of Ole Miss was second with 24%. It’s not like either of them really set the world on fire or anything, but a decent percentage of the mock drafters got it right.

2017 Mock Draft Database

The 2017 Draft is the one year that the Database has skipped since 2013 because. . .well, because the Vikings didn’t have a first-round pick that year. They had traded that pick to Philadelphia for Sam Bradford. And because there just aren’t a lot of mock drafts that go beyond one round, we didn’t do a Database that year. So there you go.

2018 Mock Draft Database

The 2018 Database was just about as far off as any of the Databases we’ve done over the years. In our final Database, 79% of the drafts had the Vikings taking an offensive lineman at #30. Now, owing to variance due to the lateness of the pick and whatever else, only 4% of mock drafters in our final Database had the Vikings selecting Mike Hughes, who was ultimately the pick. A lot of our Databases over the years have at least come close, but 2018 really did not.

2019 Mock Draft Database

Not surprisingly, the offensive line was still at the top of the list for the Vikings in 2019. That was pretty accurately reflected in our Mock Draft Database for that year, as 94% of the 100 mock drafters in our final Database for that year had the Vikings making a selection on the o-line. I’m quite certain that’s the biggest percentage ever picked up by one position group in our Database. North Carolina State center Garrett Bradbury really surged at the end of the process and wound up taking the top spot in the Database for that year, and as we know that’s who the Vikings wound up taking at their slot in the draft. Score one for the Database.

2020 Mock Draft Database

The Vikings wound up with two first-round picks in 2020 because of the Stefon Diggs trade, and we did what we could to try to project both of them prior to the selection meeting. The Database also had cornerback and wide receiver tabbed as the top two needs for the Vikings, and that’s ultimately where they ended up going with those two picks. The players were a bit off, however. Justin Jefferson was the second-most mocked receiver to the Vikings in our final Database, while Jeff Gladney was the fourth-most mocked corner.

2021 Mock Draft Database

Offensive line was once again the hot pick for the Vikings in last year’s Mock Draft Database, with 60% of the mocks in our final Database projecting the Vikings to take an offensive lineman. However, those 60 selections were only distributed between four players. The Database had the Vikings taking Alijah Vera-Tucker with their selection at #14, and Vera-Tucker did go at #14. . .but only after the Vikings traded out of that spot down to #23 to select Christian Darrisaw, who finished second to Vera-Tucker in our Database. I think that’s a pretty solid hit overall.

In the eight years that we’ve done the Mock Draft Database, only twice have the Vikings ended up taking the player that finished on top of our final tally: 2015 when they selected Trae Waynes and 2019 when they took Garrett Bradbury. In 2016 (Laquon Treadwell) and 2021 (Christian Darrisaw), the Vikings took the second-most mocked player in our Database. And in 2018, the Database couldn’t have been much farther off than it was in terms of both position and player selected.

In the end, I think the Mock Draft Database gives us a pretty solid idea of how the pre-draft process ebbs and flows leading up to draft night, but in the end there are times when nobody knows anything about anything. There are a lot of variables in play when it comes to the NFL Draft and it’s impossible for anyone to accurately project all of them. Maybe the Database just got lucky in a couple of those years.

Will our 2022 Mock Draft Database be closer to the 2015 and 2019 versions or the 2018 version? We’ll have our final Database up on Draft Day, and after that we’ll finally know for sure.